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Will OmniFocus allow me to manage task priorities? kGTD sort of has them (optionally). I do like being able to create my own list of priority labels. But my one beef with kGTD is that it doesn’t sort next actions by priority within a context. For me, priorities are important in ordering next actions across projects. In some ways, the next action of a project is its most important task (perhaps “most salient” is more accurate), but that says nothing about how to organize the next actions from all projects (within a context, of course).

Can someone from Omni comment on priorities in OmniFocus?

What thoughts do other folks on the forum have about handling priorities?

— Tim
 
We'll have some sort of minimal support for prioritization, but it hasn't been at the top of our priority list. We've already gotten some feedback on this, but we'd love to hear more.

Michelle
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacartwright
Will OmniFocus allow me to manage task priorities? kGTD sort of has them (optionally). I do like being able to create my own list of priority labels. But my one beef with kGTD is that it doesn’t sort next actions by priority within a context....

What thoughts do other folks on the forum have about handling priorities?

— Tim
My thought is that it is mission critical to have tasks sorted by priorities inside a context. I would be surprised if OmniFocus didn't do this.

Let me add something about prioritization that I've sent to some Omni folks privately, just in case it adds something of value.

My only "need" not discussed in any of the OmniFocus threads is having OmniFocus implement, in some form, a feature of a (cludgy) product that I hate to love (called Life Balance). It isn't GTD, so it isn't quite on task to bring it up. However, one feature in Life Balance is nice and doesn't necessarily conflict with GTD. It directly relates to PRIORITIZATION.

Specifically, I find it really useful to have my GTD system warn me gently that I'm losing track of some personal priorities (a pre-defined life balance) due to external urgencies/priorities (due dates vs. do dates vs. "what's important in life and the big picture before I die").

I.E. (INSIDE LIFE BALANCE) I have set travel/exploring as an important "project" of value to which I want to dedicate up to 25% of my time. Life Balance lets you pie graph the importance of your overarching "values" as "overarching projects." Everything else is a sub-project of the parent "project/personal value."

When one overarching "project (earning a living)" is getting all your GTD time at the expense of "project (travel/exploring)" Life Balance suggests an order of "next actionables" that brings your attention back to some personal values you've established.

Let me say that there a lot of dedicated Life Balance folks who really wish for a better product (without hope, it seems). It's a really valuable market niche (I would think) for the software to grab without losing track of the GTD purpose.

Do you see any possible strategy inside of current plans for OmniFocus that might allow me to have the software "suggest" a priority based on personal values as Life Balance does while staying inside the project/context paradigm?

To me this makes a lot of sense, even though it is probably a hybrid approach and not pure GTD. Does it make sense to make this a separate thread, i.e. Life Balance strategy within GTD?
 
Life Balance is a really interesting product. OmniFocus is being designed quite differently. I don't see us going in that direction, especially in 1.0. In 2.0 we will provide more reporting features, but we don't want to be the one to tell you that you should be spending less time at work and more time with your family :)
 
One thing worth pointing out is that OmniFocus will be (in fact, is already) quite scriptable, similar to the way that OmniOutliner is now--except that scripts will be working with projects and tasks and contexts rather than items in an outline. This means that scripts can be written to automatically generate reports ("What percentage of the tasks completed this week are from which top-level project folders?") and change priorities ("Increase the priority of all projects in my personal folder").
 
I want to let all you Omnifolk know that you're doing a great job of interacting with us very interested, but occasionally of the topic, users. I will be buying OmniFocus. Thanks for all the hints about scripting and reporting.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle
Life Balance is a really interesting product. OmniFocus is being designed quite differently. I don't see us going in that direction, especially in 1.0. In 2.0 we will provide more reporting features, but we don't want to be the one to tell you that you should be spending less time at work and more time with your family :)

Heh, Heh... That's the whole reason I'm self employed. All I have to worry about is keeping the boss happy. Less profit while traveling... no problem if the mortgage is paid!!!
 
I understand that minimal support for prioritization is planned. I wish I were a programmer in order to have a better feel for the challenges faced by those trying to put little pieces into the big picture. No miracles are expected. I'm hooked already.

Wish list on prioritization, (Prioritization IS part of the GTD Four Criteria Model):

1. Is it possible ... probable ... that two, independent, user-defined priorities could be implemented (one for PROJECTS, another separate user defined priority for each TASK)?

2. Sorting implemented inside a CONTEXT for next up, actionable tasks based on TASK priority variable selected by the user.

a. Project (Individually Prioritized)
b. Task (Individually Prioritized)

Tie breaker priority for the context sort of TASKS based on PROJECT priority.


3. A PROJECT list view, sorting on the PROJECT priority variable selected by user.

a. Over-arching Project
b. Nested Project #1
(Really great if nested projects can exist with either the parallel or sequential structure described in another thread.)

Well, there you have it. Input. :-)
 
To me, prioritization has two components: criticality and deadline. Some things may have a distant deadline, but they are so critical, that you want to get them out of the way. Some items have low importance, but because they _must_ be completed by some date, as that date approaches, the priority of that item must cause the item to rise on the to-do list. I can't think of a product that has handled this duality well (yet).

chuck
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebaltic
Wish list on prioritization...
I think I understand bluebaltic’s proposal, but let me see if I have it right.
  • Each task, project, and sub-project may be assigned a priority independently
  • In the Projects view, (optionally) list top-level projects in project-priority order; within a project, list sub-projects in sub-project-priority order (?)
  • In the Action view, group tasks by context and within a context (optionally) list tasks by task priority and project priority (i.e., within a single task priority level, the secondary sort order is by project priority)
Is that accurate? Complete? If so, I’d be quite happy with that basic strategy for priority handling.

However, many details remain to be worked out:

What tiebreaker, if any, should be used when ordering projects (or sub-projects) that have the same priority? Within a project (or sub-project), what determines the order of tasks that have priorities? Manual ordering or priority?

What should be done when some tasks or projects have priorities and some do not? That is, should tasks/projects without priority be sorted first or last? I think I would vote for last, myself, but I don’t have strong opinions about it.

How should ordering of tasks in the Action view work when there are both priorities and due dates (or even do dates)? I have seen to-do list managers that will change task priorities as a due date gets close, but I didn’t care for that system myself. Also, I think I’ve seen to-do lists where the group of tasks with due dates are listed first, followed by the group of tasks without due dates; within each group, ordering is determined by priority. I could live with that system. Another option, of course, is to order tasks first by priority, then project priority, then due date; or, priority, due date, project priority. Argh, so many choices!

Also, what do you think about a fixed set of priority labels versus allowing the user to customize the list of priority labels? kGTD allows the user to customize the list, and I like that feature.

— Tim
 
 


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